Irregular Post; Cinque Terra, Italy

Tuesday, April 25 2017  Riomaggiore, Italy Buongiorno, Well, that was a FINE visit. Some places are “GoBackTo”, Cinque Terre especially Riomaggiore is one. I had been here in June 2015 while Meg was hiking in Spain. I knew she would like it, so I brought her here. Last time I was in Riomaggiore, I had a single small room up the hill of the village. beyond the restaurants and shops and harbor. This time for our 47th anniversary, we had a sea view upscale “top floor” room on the harbor. We overlooked the narrow protected harbor the small boat launch, restaurant, and out towards the sunset. ;~}We arrived on Thursday afternoon on the local train. It stops at all of the villages; Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and my favorite Riomaggiore. A long tunnel through the hillside leads into the village. A musician was playing; the songs echoed greeting thru the tunnel. The village has a long street leading up the ravine. Buildings are brightly colored, tall and not wide, sharing common dividing walls. Narrow walk-alleys separate some of the buildings with stairs that ascend the ravine slope to other tall narrows above. There are a lot of visitors! Holidays! Last weekend- Easter and Easter Monday, this LONG weekend – National holidays, school vacation time is USA and elsewhere. I did not see these people midweek in early June. We decided to hike the villages from Riomaggiore to Monterosso on Friday, to avoid the Saturday crush. It was a LONG day; 9 hours on the trails. I had forgotten that I took the train between two and did not hike...

Irregular Post; Genova2

Thursday, April 20,2017 Buongiorno, After walking the “same” narrow alley-streets and piazzas it was time to see other parts of the city. Porto Antico is on the semi-circular harbor The Old city hugs the harbor and then expands away. Away up the amphitheater hill that surrounds and overlooks the port. Old town is poorer than the terraces up the hill. There are stores that are old school; internet cafes with phone center, laundry stores, tailors etc. Up the hill the are satellite dishes on apartment buildings. Small market stores are fewer and more upscale in product and clientele Public elevators, funiculars, and long stairs lead you up up up the “rows of the amphitheater”. Nicer homes appear in the apartment building mix. Way up is a “Castle” built by some rich one in the 20th century; very eclectic architecture because he could. It looks out over the lower rooftops with narrow streets between, and down to the harbor, the cruise ships in their berths, the refurbished docks where local and tourist alike enjoy the Porto Antico. Far out is La Lanterna, the lighthouse guarding the port entrance. In a small upscale mercado, a few dozen people are sitting at tables; empty wine glasses and plate settings. They are watching three cooking demonstrators doing their thing while a guy with a microphone walks and talks. WE could stay but it is too soon to eat. We take a funicular down toward the Stazione Principe. Surprise! It exits onto an alley that ends across from our hotel. “I don’t want to eat beside the hotel.” So we are back on the...

Irregular Post; Genova, Italy

 Tuesday, April 18,2017 Buongiorno. “Genova? Who goes to Genoa?” “We do.” It is a city not on the edge of becoming a tourist destination. The old city and renewed old port that is quite interesting. It is “nice” gritty; personable, not isolating like NYC or Rome. A varied mix of people are here; tourists (mostly Italian) for Easter Holiday, young male sub-saharran africans, some muslims, and others. Streets are cobbled and old looking and feeling. Small streets without streetlights are “8 shoes” wide. On Easter Sunday and Easter Monday holidays, when shops were closed, the narrow dark streets looked “threatening” until an old lady with a cane comes out of a door or a kid rides a trike on the cobbles. On Tuesday with the stores open, their metal shutters up and their lights on, it was vibrant old world with a few “foreign” tourists about. The old port is separated from the city by an overhead highway, like the southeast expressway did in old Boston/NorthEnd. Genoa tore down buildings that separated city and harbor, opened and lightened it up. Developed the harbor front into an attractive public space; aquarium, venues for performances, play areas, walk ways and tie-ups for pleasure boats and yachts, restaurants, and tourist info office. Murals were commissioned for the wide elevated highway supports. Traffic continues overhead. A Monday walking tour of a couple of hours ended at three city museums made from 16th century palaces. One had Paginini’s violin on display. Some Carriviggios, some van Dykes, and other Flemish painters who stayed in Gena were displayed as well. Genoa and Venice were the two...

Irregular Post; Bagnols Again

Monday April 10, 2017 Bagnols en Foret Bonjour,             Quietly eventful.             KLM flights to Gena via Amsterdam began last Thursday with hard rains in Boston. Storms in the south and midwest screwed up air-traffic so that there were bad lines at terminals in BOS. After 90 minutes in one line we were hailed “Anyone for Amsterdam?  Follow me.”  Four couples left the LONG line and started a short expedited line for check-in.             “OhOh!  Your reserved seats do not exist!  I’ll have to find new ones.”  said the agent.  “OK.  I have two near each other but not together; #26J and 27H”.  It turned out 26 and 27 are separated by toilets.  I am in an exit row with “extra leg room”.  Our new Global Entry card allowed us quick easy TSA pass through; very nice!              The plane was not at the gate when were supposed to load. “It is being towed over here (Terminal A) from terminal E.”  Through the rain, and occasional lightening, it appeared and carefully avoided the wings touching any other plane.  We did take off after only 100 minutes delay.  Not a problem as we had a four hour layover in Amsterdam.              Genoa is a small airport, easily negotiated for baggage, passport check, car rental, and exit on a Friday afternoon.  We have a Fiat Panda!  A “cute” little diesel manual shift car.  The trunk is only large enough for our two backpacks.  Out and onto the autostrada heading for a night stay in Finale Ligure, Italy, an hour from Genoa and three more hours from Bagnols.  Destination an agritourissmo specializing...

Irregular Posts; JiggiddityJig‏

Monday June 15, 2015 HomeAgain, HomeAgain, JiggiddityJig! Back in Andover with some jetlag.  Wide awake at 4A and coffee made.   GeezeLousie, there are hundreds of emails but no answering machine messages since I unplugged the phone.  I thought it was a good time to do the laundry; all of it. I had gotten quite used to doing a couple of things every day in rotation.  Now EVERYTHING at ONCE.      I began to transfer the 2000+ images from the little tavel computer to the workhorse and back-up storage.   A little chilly.  I needed more clothes than I had on, the temperature was in the 60s!  What?  When I left Venice, it was in the 90s.           I can be a little unfocused on jetlag.   Leaving Venice was an easy hour.  Vaporetto, the water version of subway/bus, to the AeroBus and bus off the island to the airport.  Feeling a little lazy, I decided to check my 22 pound backpack “all the way” to Boston from Venice and just carry my 9 pound camera/computer bag!  Check-in in Venice was interesting. The Departure area was CRAMMED with people with LARGE rolling bags.  I searched the board for Aer Lingus; “ckin AerLingus” and a couple of other counters, #84 – 96.  OK, but on the departure floor #1-68 were strung from the far left to the far right walls.  Another sign showed an arrow pointing downstairs!! for counters #84 – 96.  Stairs?  “You have to take the lift.” to the below-departure area.  Now in this region, there were lines, very long lines of BIG rolling BAGS with their attendants.  Counter #94-96 was AerLingus....

Irregular Posts; Venice‏

Thursday, June 11, 2015; Venezia Buongiorno, Monday from Verona, I trained to Padova.  I had found a 4Star hotal across from the train station.  Not much chance at spending major time/energy finding the place and the price was very good.  The hotel and room was far better than I had gotten used to.  But Padova is UNDERwhelming.  I looked all around.  It is a university town with young people everywhere.  Consequently food tends to be cheap and not foody-thrilling.  I had thought I could find a recommended place BUT…NO.  Another one was far out of my way and unattainable. In the evening,sitting at my computer with good wifi inPadova, I found an “emergency” hotel in Venice for Tuesday night before I went to my three night Venice B&B booking.  Nice place with gondolas just around the corner and over a canal bridge.  BTW, over 80E a ride.  A LARGE number of the gondolas were carrying groups of 4-5 Asians.   In Venice, the recommended food is seafood.  Tuesday I had spaghetti al Nero de Seppia.  This dish uses the black ink of the cuttlefish to infuse the pasta and with cooked cuttlefish in the dish. The ink gave the pasta a black, silky finish and richer flavor.  Cuttlefish is in the squid family.  Wednesday I had panzerotti with “pilgrim” scallops and shrimp.  Panzerotti is a 4 inch diameter “ravioli” filled with the shopped seafood.  A cheesy/milk sauce with some of the seafood bits and hint of heat in it was over and under four stuffed rounds.  A sprinkling of ?poppy seed? provided nice color contrast.  Each meal is finished with espresso with a packet of sugar. Last evening in Saint Mark’s Square, I partook in “aperativo”.  Before dinner, after 8P, folks...